How to create a happy and healthy workplace which boosts mental wellbeing

Already, there are the beginnings of a cultural shift in organisations where leaders are understanding the importance and benefit of wellbeing initiatives and activities for their employees.

How to create a happy and healthy workplace which boosts mental wellbeing

Already, there are the beginnings of a cultural shifts in organisations where leaders are understanding the importance and benefit of wellbeing initiatives and activities for their employees. CIPD publications and academics confirm that Wellbeing initiatives and activities can drive increased productivity, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and encourage a happy and healthy workplaces.

ROI should not be the driving force behind employee wellbeing, however the figure can be as much as 800% CIPD (source) but more about protecting and promoting wellbeing of your staff for longer term benefits like retention, engagement and improved social relations across the workplace. It would be advantageous both competitively and culturally for employers to show a keen interest in the wellbeing of their staff as they are after all, the company’s biggest asset.

a trophy weekly

Recognition with some Fun: We all like to be recognised for hard work and good performance. That might be team player of the month, best multi-tasker, top biller, most improved colleague, whatever the reason, it needs to be recognised. The great thing about having a trophy is that everyone can see it, everyone has a chance to win it, hold it and put their name on it.

It can be made to individuals or teams / departments giving employees a focus and spirit to aim for the trophy with some fun along the way.

The individual or team must return the trophy at say the end of the week having adding one thing to it.  (You’ll be very surprised just how many things can stick to a trophy.) Then next month give it to the next winner. After 12 months, the trophy will be covered with 52 items. It looks hysterical and has lots of memories. Perhaps you can have a  little retirement ceremony and put the trophy in reception. Start a new trophy and keep doing so every year.

office social

When celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another, an office party can be an effective reward option. Office parties are great because they give people the opportunity to feel valued and let their hair down; two good consequences of the gesture. It will cost a more than handwritten notes, but your team will thank you for it.

Hours and Flexible Working

Let your team members work when and where they want. For many people this flexibility is very valuable. It may means that by flexing their working hour and creating their personal schedule they can avoid spending on day care services for their child, for example. A reduction in commuting time into the office can result in increased productivity i.e. time not spent travelling and dialling down stress on the employee.

Away Days

A corporate away day for individuals across the workplace, from different departments, instils trust, improves connections and communication and brings individuals together. Mixing different departments is great for improving connections across the business, mixing business and social together can strengthen relations and trust between teams in a fun and engaging environment.

Away days are exciting, engaging, inspiring and fun. They offer in the moment experiences, sharing those experiences with individuals we spend most of our time with and creating lasting memories. The excitement, anticipation and buzz in the office before and after the event will spread, enhance connections and improve morale. Having a wellbeing focus and theme to the away day can promote the importance of being present and sharing that moment whilst improving health and wellbeing.

Other employees will want to meet their work targets to be included on the next one. Video’s and pictures from the day shown in the office create great conversations and whilst it’s not all about work there is a common theme.

written “Thank You”

A heartfelt thank you to an individual for something specific he or she has done can be a hugely meaningful reward. If you do it selectively yet authentically, not on an email, a thank you note may be pinned above your employee’s desk for years. They won’t forget it and will tell others, creating a rewarding and appreciative working culture that pushes others to receive a personal note.

contributions to a Founder’s Wall

Instead of a wall of fame for employee photos, create a wall that not only recognises employees with a photo, but with a short description and timeline of how they have contributed to where the company is today. Make sure you can add to their accomplishments as they keep succeeding.

personal wins

Don’t just appreciate team members for what they do as employees.  – appreciate them as individuals in a wider sense. For example, you can celebrate milestones they have achieved away from work but do so in the workplace.  When they achieve a personal win such as, having a baby, buying a new home, completing their first 5k, achieving a charity fundraising goal etc. their cubicle can be decorated with themed cards, balloons, bunting – you name it!  

vs Appreciation

Money is the number one satisfier, but appreciation is the number one motivator. 

A financial bonus might be given to reward hard work, or for completing a project on time, within budget, and to a high standard, or it may be for a sustained period of great work, or going the extra mile outside of their responsibilities. Whatever the reason, cash bonuses are great, they offer a quick and easy way to reward your staff giving them the freedom to splurge on whatever they like. 

It is an instant reward which can give the employee a sense of achievement and appreciation for their good work. Giving bonuses is one of the simplest rewards to manage as it can be easily monitored and given to multiple employees in privacy. 

However, there is a downside; the reward is usually short lived. Once negotiated and is expected/received, in the mind of the employee it becomes already spent and loses the reward value.


Rewarding your staff is a great way to show your appreciation for the work they do. When we feel appreciated, we feel better, and our mental health is generally improved. Overall, we have a greater sense of wellbeing. So, reward them for their work – and enjoy the benefits of a happy, healthy and committed teams.

Craig Bulow
Craig Bulow

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